Stoffel Vandoorne was never able to defend his chances in the second Formula E race of the season, Saturday in Diriyah. The result of a bizarre ban on taking part in the qualifications. Our compatriot eventually finished thirteenth after several time penalties from competitors. The race ended early after a severe crash of Alex Lynn, who remained conscious and was taken to hospital for a medical check-up.
At the end of the third and final free practice session of the Saudi Arabian race weekend, Swiss Edo Mortara hit hard in the protective Tecpro blocks along the track. The consequence of failing brakes, it soon became clear.
Because Mortara’s Venturi car is identical to the cars of Stoffel Vandoorne’s Mercedes team, both Mercedes and customer team Venturi were told by race management to provide an explanation for the incident. If not, they would not be allowed to participate in the qualifications for safety reasons. Because Mercedes had less than an hour to find the source of the braking problem, that explanation could not be provided in a timely manner.
That was the case before the race – a bug in the software turned out to be the culprit – but for Stoffel Vandoorne the calf had already drowned. From 22nd place on the grid, scoring points was an almost impossible task. In addition, the West Flemish also had to complete a stop & go penalty, due to mounting a new power source in his car. In the end, Vandoorne crossed the line in eighteenth, but because five competitors received a penalty afterwards, the Rumbekenaar was classified as thirteenth.
The race was eventually cut short after a heavy crash by Alex Lynn (Mahindra) in the closing stages. Images of the incident were not broadcast, so it is not clear what exactly happened. Soon, however, images surfaced from off the track, showing Lynn sliding quite a bit upside down around the track in his car.
Afterwards it turned out that Lynn had hit a rear wheel of Mitch Evans’s Jaguar and was launched as a result. Evans, coming to a stop in the same spot, immediately walked over to his colleague’s upside-down car to help him.
Because a rescue team was needed to free Lynn from his predicament, the race was halted. Lynn would have remained conscious and according to Evans, who responded briefly to Motorsport.com, he seemed fine. The British driver was taken to hospital for a medical check-up.
Briton Sam Bird (Jaguar) won the race ahead of Dutchman Robin Frijns (Envision) and defending champion Antonio Felix Da Costa (DS). Nyck De Vries, Friday the winner of the opening race, remains leader in the championship. The next e-Prix is scheduled for April 10 in Rome.